Cebu prelate reiterates stand on cutting of dangerous trees along highway

September 4, 2014 7:00 am 

CEBU CITY, Sept. 3 — Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma has reiterated his stand favoring the cutting of century-old trees along the national highway in southern Cebu that pose danger to humans.

But he also made it clear he did not conclude that trees along the highway in southern Cebu identified for cutting should all be felled since he still believed that others could be preserved.

Palma said he suggested that these trees should be assessed individually.

Palma was earlier quoted as saying that century-old acacia trees that dotted the highway in the cities of Naga and Carcar and the town of San Fernando in southern Cebu should be felled if they pose danger to the public.

He even recalled an incident in Barangay Zapatera, Cebu City two years ago when an acacia fell on a public utility jeepney, instantly killing the driver.

Running priest Fr. Robert Reyes, who has led protest actions against the cutting of the trees, had told Cebu reporters that he believed the prelate was misquoted.

Palma said that though the century-old trees have value, considering that they are part of our culture and tradition, the danger some of them pose to the community should also be taken into account.

“We are talking of more than 1,000 trees and the trees should be considered individually. Consider the various factors not only the culture, value as centennial trees but also the danger. For example, are they a big encumbrance to traffic?” he said.

More than 80 acacia trees standing along roads from the City up Naga to San Fernando town and to Carcar City have been identified as “defective” and schedule to be felled.

However, the special tree-cutting permit the Department of Environment and Natural Resources issued was recalled, halting cutting operations.

The recall of the permit also came after a series of protest actions by environmental groups.

“They said these trees should be treated but I said how far can they stand? I pass by the route so many times. I say some of these trees are in danger. If we say cure the trees, that’s okay, but if they are on the side of the road? He said.

”How much do we need to save them? When you travel that route, you see a tree which is not really a centennial tree, almost occupying 1/4 of the road. To me, why it is left there? We do not just preserve the tree because it is a tree, we should also consider the good of the community,” Palma further said.

“We are aware of many acacia that fell down because they were already sick and old, and they endanger lives. We are also aware that if not addressed early, they (trees) can be a great inconvenience to others,” he added. (PNA)

FPV/EB

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